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Hair that's fit for a Diva

AFRO STYLE: Micro braids by Divalocks

Q: What inspired the idea behind Divalocks?

Chinye Ukwu: Divalocks was launched to provide women of African or Afro Caribbean heritage the ability to wear braids anytime they want to, without the fuss of spending hours and hours in a hair salon, or having to find a hair salon that specialises in great braids. Also, we wanted tro provide braided styles for ladies who want to protect their hair as they restore it to its natural state.

Q: Did you always have a positive attitude towards Afro hair?

CU: Yes, I did. I always had my hair in plaits or braids from a very young age. I loved the look and feel of braids and cornrows. I remember, watching my mum getting her hair braided at the local hair salon, and being fascinated by the way each individual braid was intricately woven. I marveled at the artistry of the braider, as she transformed a mop of hair into a masterpiece that always succeeded in giving my mother a regal air!

I firmly believe that women of African or Afro Caribbean heritage need to love and embrace their Afro hair. We need to appreciate and explore the versatility of it and not being ashamed of it but rather, change the mainstream narrative and perception of Afro hair.

Q: Tell us more about your hair journey

CU: Growing up in Nigeria, I had my natural hair braided on a weekly basis from my toddler years until my late teens. As I mentioned earlier, I loved the various braided styles my hair was woven into. In my late teens, I had my hair 'relaxed' to make it softer and easier to manage, however, I still kept my hair braided or worn in cornrows. In my 20s, I experimented with hair extensions but soon discarded this look, but maintained my relaxed hair in a shoulder length bob. From my early 30s I returned to my first love and have worn my hair in braids ever since.

Q There has been resurgence among black women when it comes to braiding, faux locks etc. How have you personally benefited from its increasing popularity through Divalocks?

CU: Yes I agree that there has been resurgence among black women when it comes to braiding styles and Divalocks was launched to tap into that resurgence and provide black women with the choice of wearing a different braided style each day or each week, whatever the occasion.

BRAINS AND BEAUTY: Chinye Ukwu has used her knowledge of Afro hair to create a successful business

Q: Tell us more about the process of developing the wigs.

CU: To create each braided wig, every braid or twist is meticulously woven onto a breathable and adjustable wig cap. In the next step, it is neatly braided or twisted using 100% Kanekalon hair in all our wigs.

Most of our braided wig styles (such as the Micro Twists or the Micro Braids) are designed with a realistic looking parting, which can be worn as a middle or side parting. The realistic looking parting is achieved by carefully attaching a lace closure to the unit. Each completed wig is passed through our stringent quality control checks to ensure any imperfections are either rejected or where possible, corrected prior to shipping to the UK.

Q: On your site, it says that you provide a livelihood for the people that make the braided wigs in West Africa. Tell us more about the ethical aspect of Divalocks and its importance to the brand.

CU: The opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of many by improving their quality of life is something we take very seriously at Divalocks. Advancing the livelihood of these hardworking African, female artisans and also promote their work is one of our driving forces as a company.

Being able to create worldwide awareness to these works of art that are created in Africa and consequently, enrich the lives of the African community is a great motivator and we consider this a very important aspect to the brand.

Q: What are your plans for the brand in the future?

CU: Our future plans for the Divalocks brand is to be a place where new and existing African Braided wigs from all over Africa are showcased to the world, providing women of African or Afro Caribbean heritage a huge selection of beautiful braided wigs that celebrate their heritage and their history. Our plans also include the need to be an ethical brand, being able to improve the livelihood of the locals that create these beautiful products, thereby making a positive impact in the society.

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